This is a fine example of the genre. Over 300 pages of photos and prose in a chunky format with an arty cover.
But is there style beyond the substance to mark “Speed Addicts” out among its numerous rivals?
Although I am fortunate enough to be sent review copies of books I also hunt down copies for myself. But weighty ‘coffee table’ pieces like these are usually the last type of F1 book I’m likely to buy: they tend to be heavy on weight, light on detail.
Not so “Speed Addicts”. First of all, it’s penned by Mark Hughes, who I’ll readily admit is one of my favourite motor sport writers – I particularly enjoy his colourful Grand Prix pieces in Autosport.
“Speed Addicts” is similar in tone to those columns but with an historical focus. Embellished with a rich variety of archive photography, this is an easy and pleasant read.
It takes in the big-picture changes in the sport’s history (safety, technology, driving styles) and the headline-grabbing personalities whether they be Ayrton Senna or Bernie Ecclestone.
The prose is a mixture of brief essays on the main subjects with extended captions for the photographs that make up the bulk of the book. What is most pleasing about the book is the sense of historical context and perspective that are missing from so many others.
F1 does not exist in a bubble, and the author understands that and communicates it excellently.
It’s easy to dismiss the easy-on-the-eye layout as froth, but there’s some fascinating and thought-provoking material in “Speed Addicts”. In fact, I’d have enjoyed more of the text than photographs!
Collins Willow / Dakini Books
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